Arabian Adventure -7yr- Backyard Arabian Tent
Dee in Hervey Bay, Qld, Australia
For my daughter's 7th birthday, we decided to have an Arabian Adventure Party, especially as she loves Princess Jasmine from Aladdin.
Firstly I decided on a colour theme - gold being the main colour and then accentuated that with purple and blue. I made invitations using packs of 5 blank cards I bought for $2 at a warehouse store. I cut out a square of purple card 1/2 cm smaller that the size of the card and stuck that on the front of the white card. I then cut a blue square of card 1/2cm smaller than the purple card. Finally on a white piece of paper 1/2cm smaller that the blue card I printed a picture of a genie and her bottle (I dream of Jeannie picture)and coloured it in using the colours purple, blue and gold. I also stuck some gold fake gems around the border of the card. I found it easier and quicker to draw and colour one genie picture and then get it photocopied at an office supply shop and then cut it to size at home.
Inside the card I wrote Hop on your Magic Carpet and fly to a Faraway Land for (child's name) 7th Birthday Arabian Adventure Party. On (date) from (time) at (address) Please rub your magic lamps and RSVP to the Genies (Parents names) by (date & phone number) A whole new world of fun and Adventure awaits you. The children really seemed to love these. They took a little bit of work but I kind of like everything to tie in with the theme of the party.
For decorations I searched through local opportunity/secondhand shops and found old curtains quilt covers etc to use to make an Arabian tent. I basically just tried to find materials in similar colours but a lot of different patterns - which was quite effective. I also bought some decorations like gold candle sticks a silver teapot to be the magic lamp etc.. This was a really cheap way to decorate. Most of the things I bought were only a couple of dollars each. I draped the various gold coloured curtains around 3 sides of a portable gazebo we erected in the back yard. Inside against the back wall I used the quilt cover I bought to drape over a mattress and then down onto the floor to become a rug as well. I scattered cushions over the mattress and then on the floor infront of the mattress I put a low long table (use a tressle table on bricks to make it low - or even an old door or piece of timber) and scattered cushions around the table for seats as well. I made cushion covers from the old golden curtains and used these to cover my own cushions so that I didn't need to buy any cushions. I didn't worry about a Zip as they were only to be used for the party. Instead I pinned the seam together with safety pins to hold them on.
On the table I used a dark blue table cloth that I already had and used gold paper plates gold striped napkins and assorted gold pewter goblets that I found for 50cents each at the second hand shop as well. (You could give these to the children to take home if you wanted as part of their treat bag) I also had on the table the gold candlesticks I found at the seconds shop and placed gold beads etc around the table. In the tent I had a basket of scarves I picked up from the opportunity shop for 20-50cents each for the girls to use to dress up with and dance with if they wanted.
I also had old strings of beads in the basket as well. I finished off the tent using purple gold and blue balloons around the roof and legs of the gazebo/tent. I also added a couple of potted palms either side of the mattress at the back of the tent - I had these at home. In the background I had middle eastern music playing that I downloaded from the internet and also the Aladdin soundtrack (also available online) On the back fence I stuck an arabin scene just using black cardboard to make it look like it was a skyline in the distance. I cut outlines of camels traditional buildings and palm trees on sand dune outlines. This was really effective as it was the first thing you saw as you walked out the back door.
The party was only 2 hours long and I was able to hire 2 belly dancers to come and perform for the girls and also to teach them how to belly dance. I organised the dancers to come 1/2 an hour after the start of the party so I used the first 1/2 hour to let the girls settle down open presents and explore the decorations outside. I had a craft activity on standby (decorate cardboard princess jasmine crowns with sequins) and also a game in case I needed to waste time until the dancers arrived. Just before the dancers arrived I got the girls to sit down and told them that there was a special surprise for them and that they had to close there eyes. I put the music on and then the dancers came out and surprised the girls (I didn't tell anyone so it would be a surprise). This was fantastic as the dancers amused the girls for about an hour - perfect because I didn't really need to worry about many games.
I had a couple of games planned just in case. One was musical magic carpets (like musical chairs just using old bits of carpet or even cardboard) the mummy wrap relay (girls split in to 2 teams and take turns wrapping each other up in toilet paper and walking to the other end of the yard where they are unwrapped and have to wrap the next member of their team and so on in relay until the first team finished. I handed out gold foil wrapped lollies as a prize for this. After the belly dancers finished the girls were well and truly hungry so we had snacks (fruit platters gold wrapped lollies chips etc - just the usual party food) and then had the birthday cake.
My daughter chose a 2 tiered cake simply iced with coloured fruit sticks (pink purple orange) around the outside of the cake. Then with a gold ribbon around the centre of each layer. On top I found a princess jasmine figure to place on top. This was a fairly big cake but in addition to the 10 girls invited there were also adult family and friends at the party so it ended up being enough to go around. To finish off the party I gave each of the girls a gold organza bag with their treats in - wrapped turkish delight gold beaded bangle and ring (from $2 shop) and a few other lollies. If you had extra time at the end instead of filling the bags you could hide the treats in a box (treasure chest) and make up clues for the children to follow to find the hidden treasure scattered around the land - they could then fill their own bags with the divided up treats.
This party was so much fun to do. Having the dancers meant that I didn't have to worry about organising too much or having to worry about buying prizes for games. It helped that the party was only a couple of hours long. Most of the time was spent setting up the tent/decorating but this was heaps of fun. It helps to try and utilise as much things as you have around the house to help save money but by going to the 2nd hand shop I really spent not much more than $30 all up for decorations plus a little extra for the balloons. I hope these ideas help."